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British Home Secretary hits out at WhatsApp’s encryption

26th Mar 17 2:13 pm

Ms Rudd at Trafalgar Square vigil last week

The British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd has today on the BBC one’s Andrew Marr show has said that the encryption contained within WhatsApp the messaging app is “completely unacceptable” in the fight against terror.

This comes as Scotland Yard and agencies are unable to decode the WhatsApp messages that Khalid Masood had sent before he went on last week’s 82 second terror rampage killing four and injuring more than 50 people.

The Home Secretary went on to say that the like of Google which operates social sharing platforms like WordPress must realise that they are publishing companies rather than technology companies. They must be responsible for taking down extremist content from the web.

She said on the BBC one Andrew Marr show that: “It is completely unacceptable, there should be no place for terrorists to hide.

“We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.

“It used to be that people would steam-open envelopes or just listen in on phones when they wanted to find out what people were doing, legally, through warrantry.

“But on this situation, we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp.”

She will be meeting with an extensive list of organisations next week, which will include social media companies.

“What these companies have to realise is that they are now publishing companies, they are not technology companies, they are platforms and we need to make sure that that (hosting extremist material) stops,” she said.

“You are right, we will not resile from taking action if we need to do so.”

She added: “I would rather get a situation where we get all these people around the table agreeing to do it.

“I know it sounds a bit like we’re stepping away from legislation but we’re not.

“What I’m saying is the best people who understand the technology, who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff even being put up, not just taking it down, but stopping it being put up in the first place, are going to be them.”

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